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Is Europe "Ready to be Obama stakeholders, not free-riders"?

Thomas Friedman in the NY Times (HT: Katie):
To all those Europeans, Canadians, Japanese, Russians, Iranians, Chinese, Indians, Africans and Latin Americans who are e-mailing their American friends about their joy at having “America back,” now that Obama is in, I just have one thing to say: “Show me the money!”

Don’t just show me the love. Don’t just give me the smiles. Your love is fickle and, as I said, it will last about as long as the first Obama airstrike against an Al Qaeda position in Pakistan. No, no, no, show me the money. Show me that you are ready to be Obama stakeholders, not free-riders — stakeholders in what will be expensive and difficult initiatives by the Obama administration to keep the world stable and free at a time when we have fewer resources.
I agree. The honeymoon will not last that long.

Before the presidential elections, there were reports about Europe's Letter to the Next U.S. President: "In an unprecedented move, EU foreign ministers will send a six-page memo to the winner of the U.S. election asking for cooperation." I heard rumors that this letter was supposed to be quite specific and promise specific EU commitments to more burden sharing.
I don't know if that letter has now been delivered...


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John in Michigan, USA on :

If this European letter to Obama turns out to be half of what has been suggested, it will be an interesting and newsworthy development. But it is still only words. Consider the hypocrisy of moving closer to Russia while Russia commits abuses at home and abroad that make the Bush administration look like saints. I hope the letter will address this hypocrisy, but I doubt it. I'm all for holding Western powers to a higher standard of conduct, but if there is to be a Russian-German "partnership" (as opposed to a more expedient relationship such as Europe has with Iran, or the US has with Saudi Arabia) then it is time to hold Russia to the same high standards to which we hold ourselves.

Don S on :

The honeymoon may not last past inauguration. In fact it may not last even a week. I just read a rant in the comments section over on the "German Joys" blog accusing new White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel being a 'racist' and rumored Treasury Secretary Larry Summers of being a 'greasy neocon'. Well, greasy I'll grant you. At times. Summers has a reputation for lacking certain social skills and certainly lacks situational awareness in social settings. I read a story about the time he fumbled a chicken wing and it wound up poised in the thick cuffs of his corduroy pants, and stayed there all night. A greasy story to be sure. But I am assured that he showers daily so there shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just give him a intern with the job of keepng an eye out for such solecisms and remedying them....

John in Michigan, USA on :

It will be interesting to see if Obama's honeymoon is under more pressure from the right, or from the left. For example, Khalid Sheik Mohammad, who is currently being held in Gitmo, has reportedly told the military tribunal that is prosecuting him, "This blessed hand severed the head of the Jew infidel Daniel Pearl." In addition, he reportedly confessed to involvement in the 1993 attack, 9-11, and many other incidents. If Gitmo is closed, it will be very, very difficult to convict him in a US court of law. Because of the doctrine of "tree of a poisoned fruit" (which I support), KSM's confessions will be inadmissible. Allegedly, KSM was waterboarded, but in other cases, it doesn't matter if the extra-legal interrogation involved no torture or indeed no mistreatment of any kind; the mere fact that the interrogation was done outside the legal system, means that anything derived from it cannot be used. But that's just the beginning. In order to convict KSM of any crime, a traditional US criminal prosecutor would had to have collected all available evidence and testimony, and legally sealed it, back in March, 2003, before he was captured. A new, "vigin" prosecutor would then be appointed, and he or she would have to make the case, using only material from the sealed files. That is the only way to prove that the case wasn't "contaminated" by information learned during the extra-legal interrogation(s). Obama has left himself some wiggle room; allegedly, Lawrence Tribe is going to see about constructing an alternate legal system that will somehow permit trials but be different than the alternate legal system the Bush administration constructed. Yet the ACLU argument all along has been, that [b]any[/b] alternative legal system was unacceptable. Will the ACLU give Tribe a pass? Will the ACLU sign off on a Tribe effort that is in substance similar to Bush's efforts. Will this new system's main and perhaps only virtue be that it doesn't have the Bush name associated with it? Wouldn't that make the whole effort a propaganda exercise? Even if the ACLU sign off on Tribe's alternative, it is hard to imagine how the ACLU would sign off on anything that would permit evidence or confessions (even voluntary ones) gathered from anyone at Gitmo to be used.

Marie claude on :

very complicated to realise according to this article

John in Michigan, USA on :

Good article. As this story develops, I think we will discover it is much, much more complicated than even you or I realize. For example, "About 17 high-level detainees, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, would also go on trial but before a new version of a national security court - not the Bush administration's much criticized military tribunals." See, the problem is, the US Supreme Court threw out Bush's original military tribunal system because Bush used an executive order. To fix that, Bush got Congressional authority (i.e. a law) to re-establish his military tribunal system. Therefore, it is unlikely that Obama could set up this new "national security court" by executive order; he would need Congress to pass a law. But it gets worse. Even if Congress could somehow approve Obama's new national security court, defendants would be able to challenge it under [i]Boumediene v. Bush[/i], a recent decision which is incredibly vague and still very poorly understood. [i]Boumediene[/i] appears to give everyone, even soldiers captured in uniform on the battlefield, the right to have a traditional US court determine if they belong in a traditional court or in the promised "national security court". [i]Boumediene[/i] gave no clear guidance as to how that should be decided; it just asserted the right of the courts to decide. It seems the only quick way to satisfy all this requirements is to put the Gitmo detainees in traditional US courts, immediately. But it would be nearly impossible to convict a single one of them; therefore under existing law, there would be no choice but to release them into the US population, without the possibilty of deportation (unless they commit some new crime) So good luck, Barack! Obama could withdraw recent statements and instead state that he will be deferring any decision until after he gets in the White House. He could state that he doesn't have access to the kind of information and advice he needs until he becomes President. If he does this soon, the press would probably give him a pass; but if this story stays in the news for anther week or so, it will be too late. If Obama doesn't pull out (pun intended) of this position quite soon, I could see this becoming the first major reversal of the new Obama administration. The bride may use up all her tricks before the honeymoon even starts!

Don S on :

I really like the idea of releasing all 17 of these poor maligned men traight into the US population. In fact go further and grant them immediate US citizenship, and heavy compensation for their just grievances against the foul neocons. My willngness to support this just outcome might have something to do with the fact that I live in the UK; were the release to be done somewhat closer to home my position might change. Put it this way; I might well find it disturbing if the 'sacred hand' were released into Southall, Hounslow, or Luton, places which have had a spot or two of trouble with Islamic 'activism' in the recent past, most recently the 'liquis' plot which mow has us surrendering out Diet Coke at the gate, and an alleged fertilizer fuel oil bomb plot complete with storage lockers loaded with fertilizer. There are two ways to look at such things I must admit. One the one hand it's a trifle disquieting to contemplate a reprise of the Ok City bombing on a high street nearest me. On the other hand, the possibility of a reprise of the event of 7/7 does lend a certain piquance to any journey on the Tube. One keeps one's eye out for abandoned luggage, etc these days.

Don S on :

Oops. I meant the liquids plot which now has us surrendering our Diet Cokes at the airport gates.

Marie Claude on :

I bet that he'll have some more urgencies to treat, to bad for the Poles president though, the future is with the East, they 'll go under the bus and the money crisis

Don S on :

"This blessed hand severed the head of the Jew infidel Daniel Pearl." Well, he's OBVIOUSLY innocent of all crimes and should be released immediately. With large recompense from the US taxpayer for the abuses this righteous arm of God has sustained from neocon minions. Where is more of a problem. Given his track record one might not wish to release him in certain neighborhoods of New York City. San Francisco or Hollywood might not be the best choices either (one suspects he may not approve of gay people and we know where that leads, don't we?). Then again, releasing him into certain New York neighborhoods might quickly solve the problem albeit in slightly irregular manner, assuming the point of release is well-publicized head of time. It could be a notorious case of mass amnesia: Witness: "I swear I saw Nothing, officer, Nothing!" NYPD detective: "You say that a man was decapitated on your doorstep in broad daylight and you heard nothing?!!!" Witness: "That's my story and I'm sticking to it."

Don S on :

To Freidman (and all other Americans) I'll give a warning. Don't hold your breath. All signs lead to a single conclusion: As with Clinton before him the Obama-love is a mile wide and an inch deep. Or 2 Kilometres wide and 2 centimetres deep if you prefer. Expecting anything concrete to come of it may lead to death by asphixiation.

Marie Claude on :

who's waiting for an "honey moon" ? got to be aware of the bride's tricks seems that big Charles teached us that !

Zyme on :

I have linked an article to the right about the point that the heads of all governing parties (SPD CSU and CDU) in Germany's national coalition have already ruled out giving in to Obama on fighting in South Afghanistan. Instead they are "determined to present our engagement towards our allies more offensively and no longer simply defend it". Maybe there will be an article in english about it soon, right now I cannot offer one. It might be a few days until this message arrives in the english news sphere.

Zyme on :

I was wrong - in the meantime, already some reports were to be found. The most detailed one I have linked to the right.

Joe Noory on :

It's nothing more than Kabuki - an attempt at a sort of opening hand in a game of cards with President-ELECT Obama who isn't even in office yet. It's as pointless as most European international policy itself, and meant to raise their profile as high as possible at the least cost and the least effect. If you don't belive me, ask yourself how often any one of those leaders, departments, and such MENTIONS an issue - i.e. human rights, and then try to think of anything they actually do about it. Press releases do not maike a nation.


Obama can blame Bush for a very long time. He will say "Count my bombs and add them to Bush's" and it will work. He could drop an nuclear bomb now and he would be excused. The standards of failure set by George W.Bush and Bill Clinton give Obama a large range of options. Let's enjoy the show.

Glenn on :

Is Europe "Ready to be Obama stakeholders, not free-riders" Europe will cheerfully take all they can get in help, protection, and material aid from the U.S. But provide anything meaningful in return, except for the Brits, not a chance.

Marie Claude on :

from the Brits ????? your kidding !!!! we are not expecting anything from the new administration, in the opposite it will require us more participation in Afghanistan

John in Michigan, USA on :

When you say "except for the Brits", if you exclude Iraq, it is not as bad as you think in the period since 9-11. The Sarkozy adminstration has been more helpful than the Brown administration with regards to Afghanistan and Lebannon. Iraq, of course, is a different story, as was the later half of the Cold War. Even in the recent past, I think the French contribution has been underappreciated. Since 9-11, the French have matched or exceeded the British when it comes to intelligence-sharing; The French have made far more progress regulating extremist mosques and opposing domestic sharia than the British, or even than the US. Also, the French nuclear power industry makes them less dependent on imported oil, although unfortunately, due to their position on the globe, too much of the oil they do require comes from the Middle East. Overall, of course, US-UK has been and remains a closer relationship than the US-France; and in terms of total troops and funds, the French are still not contributing as much as the British. Still, since Sarkozy entered office and Blair left office, the French have been increasing their support while the British have been holding steady or decreasing.

Marie Claude on :

we have been insanly attacked, but, now, that I know how the partisanship spirit works over the pond, I am no more astonnished ; the opinion can reversed so quickly as it came I have seen that happening for your poor McCain candidate, now he is attacked, and it's going worst each day, since a star is born in Alaska. seems also that Sarko's honeymoon is over too there, LMAO How dares he and the fool EU members to measure themselves to the mighty America !!!! our soul is sold to the obamists :lol:

Rebecca Bratu on :

Mr. Wolf, My name is Rebecca and I am a student at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, USA. I am contacting you in my attempt to locate the study Mr. James DeWitt made while he was in Berlin on a Fulbright scholarship. I know you showcased his study on this website, because this is where i came across it for the first time. I thought his study was particularly interesting and compelling, and I believe it would give me great background for a thesis I am writing on nationalism in present-day Germany. I was wondering if you had any contact information for Mr. DeWitt, or if you could tell me where I could find the full version of his study. Any help is highly appreciated. Thank you!

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